What are dental crowns made from, and how long is the procedure?

Both function and aesthetics are considered when choosing the material most appropriate for you.  Dr Kim will consider the tooth location, the position of the gum line, the amount of tooth that shows when you smile, and the color and shade of your teeth.

zirconia crowns vs PFM crowns

Traditionally, crowns are made from several types of metal alloys that are fused to porcelain.  These traditional crowns tend to show dark discolored area around the margins over time; also, the porcelain material can easily fracture and suffer damage.  Some dentists utilize mini in-office CAD/CAM machines that can mill porcelain crowns, in a single visit, with severe disadvantages.  These “mini” in-office single-visit crowns often have very poor marginal fit, and the porcelain material used cannot match the strength and fit of modern zirconia crowns.

gold, alloy, zirconia, PFG, PFM, Zirconia framework crown and bridge

At Alpha Dental, Dr. Kim utilizes modern computerized shade-taking technology known as ShadeWave, and employs state-of-the-art high-tech labs right here in the USA, to fabricate  high-strength zirconia-based crowns.  Although this method requires two separate visits, the quality you get from it is well worth the extra time.

Why do I need a crown and what does it prevent?

A crown is a full-coverage dental restoration that covers or “caps” your tooth to restore it to its ideal shape, size, and function.  Its purpose is to strengthen or improve the appearance of a tooth.  Without a crown, and weakened or cracked tooth can propagate a fracture line that can severely damage its structure, requiring a surgical extraction.  A crown can:

  • Restore a tooth when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to provide support for a large filling
  • Attach a bridge to replace the missing teeth
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth
  • Cover a dental implant

How long do crowns last?

Insurance will typically cover a new crown every 10 years.  Crowns are much stronger than natural teeth.  It is not possible to get a cavity on a crown.  However, you can still get a cavity just below the margin of the crown, on your natural tooth.  Usually, the most common reason for replacing a crown is due to small cavities that occur on the natural tooth, just below the margin of the crown.  Crowns can easily last 10 years or more.  If taken care of well, crowns can last a life time.